Obama and Keystone: It’s Complicated

National Journal
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Dec. 1, 2013, 6:16 a.m.

RNC Chair Mi­chael Steele “has a mes­sage for cent­rist” GOP­ers: “We’ll come after you.”

Steele, asked on ABC’s “Top Line” web­cast “if it is ac­cept­able” for GOP­ers “who sup­port health care re­form or the stim­u­lus pack­age to run” in cong. races: “That’s where the line gets a little bit tricky.” Steele “said that sup­port­ing le­gis­lat­ive items on the top of” the Dem agenda “goes against the core prin­ciple,” adding that GOP can­did­ates in mod­er­ate CDs need to “walk care­fully, be­cause we’ll come after you.”

Steele also said the GOP is al­ly­ing with the “tea party” pro­test­ers. Steele: “We’re with them, we’re walk­ing this walk with them. … I don’t need you to identi­fy as a Re­pub­lic­an. I need you to identi­fy as a con­ser­vat­ive. We are the con­ser­vat­ive party” (ABC News, 11/5).

Stuck In The GOP Con­vo With You

GOP Reps. Paul Broun (GA), Charlie Dent (PA) and John Shade­gg (AZ) write in the Wash­ing­ton Times, five cmtes “have pro­duced health care le­gis­la­tion and more than 40 in­di­vidu­al law­makers have in­tro­duced solu­tions to the health care fin­an­cing crisis in Amer­ica.” Yet “there is still no con­sensus on Cap­it­ol Hill and no ef­fort by lead­er­ship” in the House to “at­tempt bi­par­tis­an re­form on an is­sue sure to define this Con­gress.”

It’s “clear that health care re­form is needed, and with an is­sue that af­fects one-sixth of our eco­nomy, the Amer­ic­an people de­serve a com­mon-sense, bi­par­tis­an ap­proach that isn’t a tril­lion dol­lar bill. As mem­bers of Con­gress, we be­lieve it is in­cum­bent upon us to take a de­lib­er­at­ive, com­mon-sense ap­proach to health care re­form and de­liv­er to the Amer­ic­an people bi­par­tis­an le­gis­la­tion that they most des­per­ately de­serve.”

“Nu­mer­ous” Dems “have ex­pressed sup­port for” the “fol­low­ing spe­cif­ic solu­tions”: “In­di­vidu­als should be af­forded the same tax ad­vant­ages that busi­nesses have by be­ing able to de­duct” their 100% “of all of their health care ex­penses from their taxes;” “high-risk pools and re­in­sur­ance mech­an­isms;” al­low con­sumers “to shop for health in­sur­ance across state lines;” and cre­ate “as­so­ci­ation health plans.”

Dem mem­bers “should reach across the aisle and put for­ward a new health care re­form bill ad­dress­ing these four spe­cif­ic re­form ele­ments that we can agree will make health care more af­ford­able and ac­cess­ible for all Amer­ic­ans. We stand ready to sign on as co-spon­sors to any” Dem-led le­gis­la­tion “that is com­prised of these four items and will en­cour­age mem­bers” with­in the GOP con­fer­ence “to join us in this im­port­ant en­deavor” (11/6).

When Was It Ever Not The Eco­nomy, Stu­pid?

CN­BC’s Kud­low writes in the Wash­ing­ton Times, “against the back­drop of high un­em­ploy­ment and a pub­lic re­volt against” a Dem health care bill, GOP­ers “scored two dra­mat­ic vic­tor­ies on Elec­tion Day.” It’s “in­ter­est­ing that early signs of eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery are not help­ing” the Obama Dems, “largely be­cause of” the un­em­ploy­ment rate. “Even the crazy jobs-saved-or-cre­ated cam­paign is hav­ing no dis­cern­able im­pact while the Obama­cons try to fight the un­em­ploy­ment rate.”

“Stat­ist­ic­ally, the re­ces­sion is over. That’s good. And it cor­rob­or­ates the big stock mar­ket rally over the past sev­en months. This is go­ing to be a busi­ness-led re­cov­ery as self-cor­rect­ing firms build profits on top of huge cash flows.” But “the de­pre­ci­at­ing dol­lar re­mains a storm cloud over re­cov­ery. So are sched­uled tax-rate in­creases and health care le­gis­la­tion that will slam in­di­vidu­als and firms with high­er tax bur­dens and high­er tax costs for job cre­ation.”

The “eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery story, and even the stock mar­ket rally, won’t bail out the Obama­cons today, al­though it re­mains to be seen wheth­er a free-mar­ket, anti-tax-and-spend mes­sage will emerge from a strong Elec­tion Day show­ing” by GOP­ers (11/6).

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